I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Abarth 695 BiPosto to become official car of teh 2014 Gumball 3000.

  • The Abarth 695 biposto makes its official on-road debut
  • “Gumball 3000”: the non-competitive rally for 120 supercars which covers over 3000 miles in less than 10 days
  • Abarth is the only official automotive partner of the sixteenth edition which will cross North America and Europe
Following the official debut at the 84th Geneva International Motor Show, the ‘most Abarth of all Abarths’ takes to the road for the first time.
Fitted with a 190 HP, 997 kg 1.4 T-Jet engine, giving the best weight-to-power ratio in its category (5.2) and acceleration from 0 to 62 mph in just 5.9 seconds, the Abarth 695 biposto will be the official car of the sixteenth edition of the "Gumball 3000" rally.
It's the first time that an official car has been appointed for the “Gumball 3000”, the non-competitive rally for just 120 amazing supercars which cover over 3000 miles in less than 10 days.  
After the adrenaline-charged 15th anniversary rally from Copenhagen to Monaco, for the 2014 edition the “Gumball 3000” is set to cross two continents with a route that sets off from South Beach, Miami and finishes in Ibiza: this year's event promises to be more exciting and enthralling than ever, for drivers and fans alike.

It's a unique adventure for the participants who, between 4th and 11th June, will travel all the way from America to Europe: after stages in Miami, Atlanta and New York, all 120 cars will be flown across the Atlantic, touching down in Scotland. Here, in Edinburgh, the “Gumball 3000” will enrich its line-up of supercars with the Abarth 695 biposto, making its official on-road debut.
Abarth's “two-seater” road-going car will unleash its 190 HP, becoming the undisputed star attraction of the event. “Gumball 3000” has chosen “the fastest Abarth ever” as the iconic image of the 2014 edition of the Rally, giving it the coveted #1.
Maximillion Cooper, CEO and founder of the event, announced that he was honoured and thrilled to be the first official driver of the Abarth 695 biposto, a car that truly represents the essence of Abarth: with its size, a quintessential Abarth characteristic, a “small Italian supercar”, and its “racing heart”, that passion for speed and the challenges of the road – while also embracing the values of the “Gumball” rally.
“Gumball 3000” was launched in 1999 by Maximillion Cooper, a former British racing driver, designer and entrepreneur, included by Complex in its list of the 50 most influential people in the auto industry, as his rally brings cars, music, fashion, art and entertainment all together. Cooper borrowed the word 'Gumball' from Andy Warhol, who used it to describe how the public “chew up” and spit out popular culture just like chewing gum. The number '3000', meanwhile, is a nod to Cooper's fascination with the future, especially at a time when the world was on the cusp of the 21st century. This now legendary road trip has seen the participation of international artists and celebrities, royalty, individuals included in Forbes rich lists, billionaires, founders of Blue Chip companies, rapidly capturing the attention of the press and public alike, achieving mainstream media coverage through automotive and lifestyle publications, and even gracing the covers of The Financial Times, GQ , Esquire, FHM and CAR.
The roads between the Scottish capital and Ibiza - taking in London, Paris and Barcelona - will be the first to put the Abarth 695 biposto's exhilarating supercar performance (top speed 140 mph) to the test. What's more, it's the very first time that a ‘street legal’ car, currently in its category, is offered with a gearbox featuring dog rings with controls and disc and clutch self-locking differential derived from the world of racing, making upwards gear changes so rapid that expert drivers don't need to use the clutch. 
In each city the “Gumball” visits, Abarth - sole official automotive partner - will play a leading role: Regent Street in London, Les Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, Barcelona and the Old Town Port in Ibiza will welcome hundreds of thousands of people and Abarth is all set to make every arrival an exciting, memorable event with its fantastic cars.
The race schedule is as follows:
4th June – Arrival in Miami
5th June – from Miami to Atlanta
6th June – from Atlanta to New York
7th June – from New York to Edinburgh
8th June – from Edinburgh to London
9th June – from London to Paris
10th June – from Paris to Barcelona
11th June – from Barcelona to Ibiza

Skoda to take second concept to Wortersee, this one is the Yeti Xtreme.

  • Compact SUV with rally car ambitions: rugged concept ŠKODA Yeti Xtreme
  • Dynamics: 1.8 TSI/112 kW with all-wheel drive and DSG; height-adjustable chassis, and Octavia RS brakes
  • Rally car interior: aluminium floor panel, Recaro sports seats, carbon fibre trim, ‘Super Sports’ steering wheel, iPad cradle, fire extinguisher, off-road features, rally equipment
  • 33rd run of the legendary Volkswagen event from 28 to 31 May 2014
At this year’s GTI event at Wörthersee, ŠKODA will be presenting the ŠKODA Yeti Xtreme – a world premiere of this solid and sporty concept rally car based on the popular compact SUV. The event will also mark the debut of the ŠKODA CitiJet – a design concept built by ŠKODA apprentices. It is with these expressive vehicles that the brand once again underlines the emotional qualities and versatility of its attractive model range.
This is the 33rd time that the legendary Volkswagen tuning event will be taking place. Around 200,000 tuning fans will be making the pilgrimage to the cult event in Reifnitz, Austria (28 to 31 May). ŠKODA will be taking part in the GTI event for the fifth time.
“We want to continue the positive development and to grow further with new models over the coming years,” says Werner Eichhorn, ŠKODA Board Member for Sales and Marketing. “Therefore we are going to strengthen the emotional vibrancy of the brand. ŠKODA Yeti Xtreme – as a dynamic and powerful compact SUV concept – demonstrates the brand’s strong expertise in four-wheel drive technology, as well as our know-how when it comes to rally sports.”
In creating the ŠKODA Yeti Xtreme, ŠKODA designers have converted their successful compact SUV into a particularly sporty and dynamic rally design. The show car combines the power of an all-wheel drive SUV with strong design elements and equipment features of a racy rally car.
The car is powered by a 1.8 112 kW strong TSI engine and features a six-speed dual clutch transmission (DSG). The maximum torque of 250 Nm is achieved between 1,500 and 4,200 rpm. The Yeti Xtreme accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 9 seconds; its top speed is 192 km/h. The Yeti Xtreme features special Octavia RS brakes.

The striking matt-grey Yeti stands on powerful 17-inch alloy wheels and large off-road tyres. It features tinted side windows, roof and wheel rim inserts are set off in bright yellow-green. At the front, the brawny athlete has a powerful bumper and a large air intake, along with LED headlights. For robust sporting use, the height of the chassis can be adjusted.
The ŠKODA Yeti Xtreme flexes its muscles with strikingly shaped wings and powerful door sills. At the rear, the strong rear bumper bears witness to the power and dynamics of the vehicle, so do the two wide exhaust tailpipes, which sound particularly throaty as a result of the absence of silencers. The boot includes a spare wheel and so-called ‘recovery tracks’, special traction mats that can be pushed under the wheels, should the car get stuck in sand.
The interior wows with a racy rally design and includes equipment required for rally use. Passengers can sit on 4 individual Recaro sports seats with integrated four-point safety belts. Other features include the ‘Super Sport’ steering wheel with integrated gearshift paddles.
The designers have used selected high-tech materials for various parts in the car’s interior: the inner door covers have been made entirely from carbon fibre; a sand shovel and a thermos flask have been integrated into holders fitted in the panelling; the floor panel is made from aluminium.
The Colour & Trim package includes further carbon fibre elements and high-quality, dark Alcantara surface with green colour accents. Further aluminium details can be found throughout, such as aluminium pedals and special door sill plates. The centre console has been completely re-defined. This is where standard rally car accessories, such as a belt cutter and a fire extinguisher, can be found. An iPad cradle is integrated into the dashboard, a first aid kit into the glove box.
With the ŠKODA Yeti Xtreme, the manufacturer once again demonstrates the versatile potential of its popular compact SUV. The ŠKODA Yeti was completely redesigned in 2013 and is now available in two exciting versions for the first time: the ŠKODA Yeti for the city and the adventurous ŠKODA Yeti Outdoor for rough terrain. The Czech manufacturer celebrated its premiere in the dynamically growing SUV segment with the ŠKODA Yeti in 2009. Around 640,000 ŠKODA Yetis have been sold to date. The brand achieved a market share of more than 4% in the compact SUV segment within the European Union last year, making the Yeti one of the best-selling A-class SUVs in Europe.
The ŠKODA CitiJet design concept is going to be another highlight of ŠKODA’s appearance at Wörthersee. The vehicle is a dynamic and emotionally designed city-cabriolet based on the ŠKODA Citigo. The two-seater is the result of the ŠKODA apprentices’ project, carried out for the first time this year. Six months in the making, 16 ŠKODA apprentices present the fruits of their labour to the public for the first time.
The ŠKODA CitiJet features a distinctive metallic finish in blue and white and has sporty, blue 16-inch alloy wheels, accompanied by a handmade rear spoiler and a powerful exhaust with two tailpipes. A 1.0 MPI petrol engine with 55 kW (75 PS) can be found under the bonnet.
The car features a sporty interior, with equipment based on the interior of the special edition ŠKODA Citigo SPORT. In addition, the creators have installed a special 300 W sound system, and music-reactive blue LED interior lighting.

Catherham to attend the largest collection of Seven's at Throckmorton.

Hundreds of Sevens are expected to assemble at Throckmorton Airfield as host to the Lotus Seven Club International meeting on 31 May, 2014.
The Seven extravaganza, expected to be the biggest of the year, will be backed by Caterham Cars which will showcase several vehicles including a Caterham F1 Team car.
As well as the road and race cars being displayed, Caterham will also provide a hospitality unit to act as Event Control and, additionally, the EQ8 Caterham Racing GP2 team will provide its race truck as further support.
The event follows the club’s 30th anniversary celebrations at Beaulieu in 2013.
The gathering, which attracts owners from across Europe, provides an opportunity to socialise with other Seven enthusiasts and will see hundreds of historic and modern Sevens assemble in the show area. A number of trade stands will also be set up.

Caterham will be displaying various current models, all of which will also be available for demonstration, including the entry-level Seven 160 and the extreme Seven 620 R.
Owners will also have the chance to participate in the AutoSolo event; a cross between a sprint race and an Autotest which is designed to push driver skill and vehicle agility to the limit.  
Entry requirements for vehicles are minimal. As long as vehicles are taxed, insured and have a valid MOT, they will be permitted to compete.
For additional event information, please visit www.lotussevenclub.com/WhatsOn. For Caterham Cars, visitwww.caterhamcars.com or call Caterham South on +44 (0)1883 333700 or Caterham Midlands on +44 (0)1455 841616.

Lexus announce prices and specs on new NX Premium Crossover.

  • Lexus announces details of six-model line-up for its new NX premium crossover in the UK
  • Deliveries of NX 300h hybrid from October this year, NX 200t with new 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine to follow from March 2015
  • All-wheel drive SE, Luxury, F Sport and Premier grades, plus entry-level front-wheel drive S grade for NX 300h
  • NX 200t offered exclusively in F Sport trim
  • NX available to order now, prices from £29,495 (NX 300h S)
The NX, Lexus’s first mid-size crossover, will arrive in the UK this October, initially in the form of the full hybrid NX 300h. Next year the range will grow to include the NX 200t, the first model to adopt Lexus’s new 2.0-litre petrol turbo engine.
Sharply styled and offering true Lexus quality and refinement, the NX will open up new opportunities for the brand in an expanding and popular part of the premium car market.
Five equipment grades will be on offer, all demonstrating Lexus’s continued commitment to luxury, comfort and the application of advanced, user-friendly technologies. NX will be the first model to feature Lexus’s Pre-Crash Safety system and Adaptive Cruise Control as standard on all versions. Other “firsts” for a Lexus include a wireless charging tray for easy charging of mobile phones and other devices and the first application of a new Remote Touch Interface with a touchpad control.
Further features include a new Panoramic View Monitor, a comprehensive multi-information display (incorporating for the first time a G-sensor and boost meter on NX 200t), head-up display, blind spot monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
The NX 300h S, the entry point to the range, will be available with front-wheel drive only; all other NX models will have all-wheel drive, equipped with a second electric motor on the rear axle.

Advance orders for the new NX can be placed now. On-the-road prices start at £29,495 for the NX 300h S.
Equipment specifications and options
Standard features of the NX 300h S include: -
17-inch alloy wheels
LED low-beam headlights and daytime running lights
Pre-Crash Safety system and Adaptive Cruise Control
Dual zone climate control
Eight-speaker audio system
Lexus Media Display with Remote Touch controller
DAB digital radio
60/40 folding rear seats
Electric, folding door mirrors
Drive Mode Select
Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management
Hill Assist Control
Eight airbags
USB multimedia port
Remote double door locking
Speed-sensitive automatic door locking

SE grade adds: -
All-wheel drive
Integrated roof rails
18-inch alloys
Rain-sensing wipers
Heated front seats
Towing capacity (1,500kg braked, 750kg unbraked trailer)

Further features which are standard on the Luxury grade include: -
LED fog lamps
Rear privacy glass
Heated, electrically adjustable front seats
Silver trim inserts and scuff plates
Parking sensors
Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
Smart Entry

The NX 300h F Sport gains a series of dedicated styling features as well as further equipment: -
18-inch alloys with two-tone finish
Headlights with LED high and low beam functions
F Sport heated electric front seats with lumbar support
F Sport suspension with performance dampers
Electric steering column adjustment
Power tailgate
Wireless smartphone charger

At the top of the range the Premier model builds on the Luxury specification with: -
18-inch alloys with dedicated design
Headlights with LED high and low beam functions
Auto-dimming door mirrors
Heated and ventilated front seats with lumbar support
Driver’s seat position memory
Mark Levinson audio system
Card key
Lexus Premium Navigation
360-degree panoramic view
Automatic high beam
Lane Keep Assist
Head-up Display
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Heated steering wheel

Lexus Navigation is available as an option (£995) on all S, SE, Luxury and F Sport grades, with the more sophisticated Lexus Premium Navigation system (£1,995) additionally offered for F Sport.
The NX 300h Luxury can be specified with a Convenience Pack (£495), comprising the new wireless smartphone charger and power-operated tailgate). Customers can add a sunroof (£1,000) to the F Sport and Premier NX models and Lexus’s Adaptive Variable Suspension system (£750) can added to the F Sport specification. Across the board, metallic paint is a £645 option.
Model range and pricing
The new NX 300h is priced from £29,495 for the S grade model. The price of the NX 200t  F Sport will be announced later this year.
NX 300h S FWD£29,495
NX 300h SE AWD£31,495
NX 300h Luxury AWD£34,495
NX 300h F Sport AWD£36,995
NX 300h Premier AWD£42,995

The new Lexus NX premium Crossover.

  • The first Lexus for the fast-growing premium mid-size crossover/SUV segment
  • Sharp styling aired with Lexus refinement and innovative technology
  • NX 300h with 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle full hybrid powertrain, targeting sub-120g/km CO2 emissions, to be launched in Europe October 2014
  • NX 200t powered by new 2.0-litre petrol turbo engine, to be launched in selected markets February 2015
  • Available with front and all-wheel drive, and in Lexus  F Sport versions
The NX marks Lexus’s debut in the premium mid-size crossover market. It displays an edgy, contemporary design that’s aimed at attracting new customers, notably urban people with active lifestyles.
Two powertrains will be offered in the UK: a highly efficient hybrid system in the NX 300h; and a new Lexus-developed 2.0-litre petrol turbo engine in the NX 200t. Both all-wheel and front-wheel drive versions will be available within the range.
The NX 300h will debut in the UK in October 2014, in all-wheel and front-wheel drive versions; the NX 200t will follow in March 2015, exclusively as an F Sport AWD model.
Innovative on-board technology will be available, including a wireless charging tray for easy charging of mobile phones and other devices and the first application of a new Lexus Remote Touch Interface with a touchpad control. Further features include a new Panoramic View Monitor, a comprehensive multi-information display (incorporating for the first time a G-sensor and boost meter), head-up display, blind spot monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
The NX 300h and 200t F Sport versions display a bolder design, with specific features such as an individual treatment of the spindle grille, a lower front bumper, dedicated wheel design, black-finished door mirror housings, dedicated interior colours and trims and sports seats. Beyond the styling these versions of NX will benefit from performance dampers.
Takeaki Kato, the NX Chief Engineer, said: “The NX is a premium crossover, combining performance, numerous on-board technologies and alluring design.

“Luxury is epitomised by small but important details, as can be witnessed in the attention to detail in areas such as the feel of the switchgear, the arrangement of the courtesy lights, the metallic finishes for the wheels and other innovations that will set the standards for future Lexus models.
“Luxury touches apart, the NX was designed both to complement daily life and support active lifestyles at the weekend.”
Exterior design
The NX has been substantially influenced by the LF-NX concept and has been designed to express a sense of agility not usually associated with an SUV, as well as the practical quality required for driving around town.
The flared front and rear elements are fused to a diamond-shaped body which has its starting point in the spindle grille. The flared arches house 17 or 18-inch wheels and contribute to the car’s crouching, muscular stance. Lexus’s distinctive design language is also expressed in the innovative LED headlamps and daytime running lights.
The side profile shows the peak of the roofline is set towards the back of the vehicle, which translates into ample headroom for those sitting in the rear, while creating a tight silhouette.
Details include an innovative door mirror design and a door handle mechanism with a concealed key barrel and integrated lighting, features which enhance the overall premium look by creating a smooth finish along the side of the car.
The rear is punctuated by Lexus’s L-shape combination lamps, fitted with seamless LED lighting. The bodywork design echoes the spindle grille treatment at the front.
Interior design
Lexus’s ambition for the NX’s cabin was to produce a design that combines the structural beauty of a high-performance vehicle with materials and textures that express premium quality and functionality.
The car’s SUV strengths are expressed in details such as a thick-rimmed steering wheel, a central silver frame embedded in the instrument panel and robust knee pads for driver and front passenger. Contrasting textures around the cabin and the use of a quilted seat upholstery pattern reference the NX’s status as a crossover vehicle.
The NX continues the development of Lexus’s display and operation zone dashboard design concept and provides the driver with easy, intuitive command of its advanced technology features using new and improved HMI controls.
Lexus has also focused on interior space and seating, ensuring ample overall headroom and a generous front-to-rear couple distance. The NX also has the longest luggage area load length in its class.
NX 300h
The NX 300h uses a sophisticated hybrid system control specially developed for the model, using the proven Lexus 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle engine, generator, motor and battery. Total system output is 195bhp/145kW.
Lexus is targeting CO2 emissions of less than 120g/km, which corresponds to combined cycle fuel economy of 54.3mpg.
The NX 300h will be available in front and all-wheel drive versions, equipped with one or two electric motors respectively.
Features specific to the hybrid NX include sprung-weight damping control to increase ride comfort and handling stability by reducing pitching when driving on uneven surfaces.
In common with other Lexus models equipped with Lexus Hybrid Drive, the NX 300h will offer customers considerable cost of ownership advantages, thanks to a combination of low maintenance and running costs, high residual values and significant tax incentives or benefits in many European countries.
European and UK deliveries will begin in October this year.
NX 200t
The NX is the first model to use a new Lexus 2.0-litre petrol turbo engine, engineered for excellent fuel economy, agile performance and responsiveness. Maximum power is 235bhp/175kW between 4,800 and 5,600rpm and maximum torque is 350 Nm, available  from 1,650 to 4,000rpm.
The engine underwent more than one million kilometres of testing over different road conditions and in harsh driving environments. Its design features a world-first combination of water-cooled cylinder head, integrated exhaust manifold and twin-scroll turbocharger.
It is matched to a six-speed automatic transmission that has been specially tuned for the NX. This uses a new, torque-demand control logic, calculating and maximising the required engine torque to deliver quick response to throttle inputs and high fuel efficiency.
The NX 200t will be available with front and all-wheel drive in selected European countries from February 2015. In the UK it will feature exclusively in the NX 200t F Sport AWD, with customer deliveries expected from March 2015.
Chassis and suspension
The new NX has been engineered for agile driving, handling stability, body control and ride comfort, including yaw-rate response to steering inputs and stability over uneven surfaces.
At the heart of the design is a highly rigid body, with extensive reinforcement of the underbody. Other key elements include additional bulkheads and spot-welding, suspension braces and the application of Lexus’s body adhesive and laser screw welding technologies, and a high-rigidity glass adhesive.
Some NX models are equipped with new-design dampers and Lexus’s new-generation Adaptive Variable Suspension. Linked to the vehicle’s Drive Mode Select system, this can change the level of damping force to improve comfort and reduce body roll.
The comprehensive active safety package includes a new, full-range Panoramic View Monitor using the highest resolution camera yet to be fitted to a Lexus. In a first for the segment, the NX will be available with an all-speed Adaptive Cruise Control, capable of matching the NX’s speed to the vehicle in front, down to a complete stop.
Other systems include Lane Departure Alert, blind spot monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. A head-up display is also featured in the range.
Length (mm)4,630
Width (mm)1,845
Height (mm) – with antenna1,645
Height (mm) – without antenna1,630
Wheelbase (mm)2,660
Front/rear track (mm) – 225 tyre1,580
Biography: Takeaki Kato
Takeaki Kato joined Toyota in 1986. After working mainly on instrument panel design, he moved to the Toyota Technical Center in the USA in 1994.
After returning to Japan in 1997, he pioneered development of safety and restraint features such as knee airbags, pre-crash seatbelts and twin-chamber airbags.
In 2005 he joined the Product Planning Division, with responsibility for the IS and RX prior to becoming chief engineer for the NX.